Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 1: "Hathor"

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Episode Information

Title: "Hathor"
Written by: David Bennet Carren, J. Larry Carroll (story), Jonathan Glassner (teleplay)
Director: Brad Turner
Rating (out of 4 stars): **
Reviewed on: July 10, 2014

Synopsis from GateWorld


Hathor, a queen Goa'uld, tries to take over the SGC.

In the opening scene, we see archaeologists entering a Mayan chamber in Mexico. (They certainly don't have the personality and assurance of Daniel Jackson!) They start examining a large sarcophagus, which they note is out of place in Mayan culture, because it has Egyptian hieroglyphs on it. One archaeologist recalls a young researcher, named Daniel Jackson, who published about a possible connection between ancient cultures and was laughed out of academia.

They accidentally open the sarcophagus, allowing a female Goa'uld (in human host) to escape. She blasts them with a Goa'uld hand device.

Some time later, the sarcophagus has been delivered to the SGC. One of the archaeologists' surviving colleagues remembered Daniel's cross-culture ideas and sent it to him. Daniel and O'Neill recognize it as being similar to one on Ra's ship (in the Stargate movie) that was able to bring Daniel and Sha're back from the dead. Obviously it is technology of some kind that they are eager to study.

General Hammond is notified about a woman who has approached the surface facility above the SGC and asked about the Stargate. Hammond and SG-1 are interested to find out how she knows this information, and bring her into the SGC for questioning.

Hathor is wrapped up in a dirty overcoat and a whole lot of Goa'uld arrogance. She identifies herself (speaking with the royal "we") and demands that they kneel before her. However, she doesn't do the Goa'uld glowing-eyes trick or show any technology, so the others don't believe she's a Goa'uld - they think she's crazy.

Even so, Daniel feels bad that she is handcuffed and asks for her to be released. Hathor takes advantage of Daniel handling her to breathe some kind of mist onto his hand. She goes on to use more terms only an off-worlder would know, discuss her relationship with Ra, and explain how she was the mother of all pharaohs.

Hammond and O'Neill still don't clue into anything wrong and leave Daniel to question Hathor, assuming she's a civilian who somehow learned this top secret information. (I love Hathor calling Hammond the one "with the crown of marble", incidentally.) Before Hammond leaves, Hathor unsubtly manipulates him into giving her his hand so that she can breathe the mist on him, too.

Once Hammond and O'Neill leave, Hathor manifests her glowing eyes and Goa'uld voice and begins questioning Daniel. Daniel spills the beans on how they killed Ra. Clearly, Daniel is operating under the influence of the pink mist. Hathor doffs the overcoat to reveal the typical female Goa'uld skimpy outfit.

Later, Hammond and SG-1 convene to discuss Hathor. Daniel is still acting a bit goofy. He says she's a Goa'uld who was in stasis in the sarcophagus for thousands of years, and that she's their friend because she was an enemy of Ra. Now she wants to help them defeat Apophis and protect them. Daniel suggests they release Hathor. O'Neill protests, but Hammond permits it, obviously having fallen under Hathor's influence as well.

Hathor arrives and charms the men completely. She get the opportunity to breathe on O'Neill's and Teal'c's hands. Only Carter, as the only female present, seems to think that they are too trusting of Hathor too soon. However, the men brush her off. They are both her superiors and not yet acting weirdly enough to indicate that something is clearly wrong, so she lets it go.

Hathor is installed in guest quarters. She charms Daniel again privately, and Daniel promises to die for her if need be. Later, in a tour of the gate room, Daniel returns to his true character enough to ask Hathor some questions about her origin. Hathor reveals that she is a queen Goa'uld, able to create the larval Goa'uld that are placed in the Jaffa. Furthermore, the DNA of the Goa'uld host species (i.e., humans) is needed in the procreation of the larvae so that the larvae are not rejected by the host body. We don't see it on-scree, but apparently Hathor seduces Daniel, making him the source of human DNA for the next larval Goa'uld.

Carter has decided to research the mythology on Hathor to try to figure out what power she seems to have over men. Dr. Frasier agrees that the men on the base have been acting oddly. From a brief bit of research, the women hypothesize that Hathor uses some kind of Goa'uld technology to control men, probably with "airborne delivery". Their quick, yet accurate, speculation reminds me of some of the best original Star Trek wild guesses. So they conclude that they men are under Hathor's control, and they need to stop Hathor. Easier said than done!

Carter and Frasier gather and arm some of the other women on the base in order to fight Hathor. Teal'c arrives and claims that his Jaffa immune system can't be affected by Hathor, so he is also against her. They locate Hathor hanging out in a bath in the locker room; the bath water is filled with larval Goa'uld. For some reason, the women do not open fire immediately. Hathor orders the men on base to surround her - the women cannot attack without hurting the men. Hathor has the women locked up.

O'Neill privately begins to question Hathor. She gives him a little more of the mist, and then reveals a new device: her tummy jewel. It looks like the jewel in a Goa'uld hand device, but it is located at her navel. She hugs O'Neill, pressing the jewel into his abdomen. In short order, the tummy jewel has done its work: it has made O'Neill a Jaffa. He collapses - he no longer has an immune system, so he needs a Goa'uld.

The locked-up women decide that since the men are all sexed-up, so to speak, they will take advantage of that to escape. They seductively invite the two guards in, and then lock them up. The women leave with more purpose, proactively knocking out any men they run into, including Hammond.

They witness Hathor place O'Neill in the bathtub full of larvae in the locker room. She leaves him; the women (and Teal'c) remove O'Neill, but realize he's in trouble now that he's a Jaffa. They put O'Neill in the sarcophagus in the gate room. While they wait for O'Neill to be rejuvenated, Hathor shows up with soldiers under her control, and they begin shooting at each other. The sarcophagus opens, and O'Neill jumps out as Hathor uses her hand device to fire at him, hitting the sarcophagus. Hathor leaves, and the good guys exit the gate room just before the sarcophagus explodes.

Carter inspects O'Neill's abdomen to make sure he's no longer a Jaffa. She exclaims over the miracle of his fully-healed stomach, and O'Neill says, "Crunches." Hilarious!

O'Neill and Carter devise a plan to use tranquilizer darts to shoot the men surrounding Hathor. This is successful, but again they hesitate before shooting at Hathor. She blasts Carter with her hand device. As she is distracted by O'Neill, Carter gets up and shoots Hathor multiple times, also shooting into the bathtub of larvae. Hathor disappears into the water, and inexplicably the surface of the water goes up in flames. Daniel is distraught at Hathor's apparent death. However, while everyone is evacuating, a flaming figure leaves the bathtub.

The Stargate is activated, and Carter and O'Neill rush to the gateroom to find Hathor about to leave. The Stargate was connected to Chulak, Apophis's planet. O'Neill decides not to pursue her.

Later, everyone seems to be recovered, although the men have some sketch memories of the time when they were under Hathor's control. Hammond puts commendations in for Carter and Frasier.

This episode was pretty disappointing after the previous excellent episodes. A lot of it felt like a science fiction B-movie, what with the alien woman with sex-slaves plot, the female soldiers seducing them men, and the bad special effects. The things that redeems it at all is the background information we learn about Goa'uld reproduction.

To emphasize it again, the plot was pretty horrible. The idea of Hathor having a love-spell of some kind (yeah, sure, it's "Goa'uld technology") to control the men is very trite. And then, of course, the few women's concerns are brushed off. We even had Hathor raping Daniel, but that gets no more than an "Ewwww" from O'Neill at the end of the episode. The sex stuff is played for laughs, but it really wouldn't be funny. It was also very odd that there was a conversation between the women about how they never felt like they fit in with the men - is that suppose to make the viewer feel better about the insincerity of the rest of the episode?

The interesting part of the episode was that we learned about Goa'uld reproduction, and we got a blueprint, so to speak, of how a Goa'uld gets an empire started. As SG-1 has said in the past, the basis of a Goa'uld's power is its technology and its Jaffa. So here we have Hathor with some key pieces of technology: her hand device, her tummy jewel, her sarcophagus, and Earth's Stargate. She needs Jaffa, so she begins producing larvae to put into the Jaffa and creating Jaffa, with O'Neill being the first. Presumably in time she would have turned more of the men into Jaffa and begun implanting the larvae in them until she was satisfied with the size of her forces. At that point, she could conquer the Earth and use the Stargate to expand her empire.

There are definitely some oddities in the Goa'uld reproduction process. It is interesting that the queen needs to have sex with the host species. This may make a little bit of sense in terms of evolution: on whatever planet the Goa'uld originated, presumably their first hosts were also present. (Would these have been Unas, as seen in "Thor's Hammer"?) So possibly these two species had some kind of co-evolution, each species affecting each other and evolving together. I'm not familiar with any examples of this on Earth, but then again, I'm not a biologist. However, I would think that if the Goa'uld were actually taking in DNA from another species, then at some point they would no longer be a separate species. In fact, if species are said to be different if they cannot reproduce, then technically the Goa'uld are NOT a separate species. Huh. Well, this is science fiction.

Even if one accepts that the Goa'uld needs the host DNA to reproduce, how is the reproduction process done when the Goa'uld is in a host body, such as Hathor and Daniel? How is the Goa'uld involved? Honestly, we probably don't need this level of detail - we do have to have some suspension of disbelief.

There are some implications from what we've learned about Goa'uld reproduction. First, if host DNA is needed to help prevent rejection, then that means that rejection is possible. So it seems that any Goa'uld currently in a human host body could inhabit another human. But if the Goa'uld is in another host species, it couldn't cross into a human. Or a Goa'uld in a human host couldn't transfer to another species. I wonder how the Goa'uld inhabiting the original hosts, Unas, made the transfer to human hosts.

A second implication is that queen Goa'uld are not very numerous. In comparison to something like a queen bee in a hive, there is one queen and hundreds or thousands of offspring. Potentially if Earth could locate and destroy the queen Goa'uld, they would deal a major blow to the Goa'uld species.

Hopefully this episode will have taught our characters to have more caution related to anything with Goa'uld, and not take it for granted that Goa'uld could not get to the Earth without their knowledge. They also should have more respect for the unknown types of technology the Goa'uld may have.

What will Hathor do on Chulak? Will she join forces with Apophis? Apophis already has a queen in Sha're, but he may be interested in allying with an actual queen Goa'uld. On the other hand, Apophis and Hathor may both be arrogant and power-hungry enough that they cannot share power in any way. Perhaps Hathor will simply move on from Chulak without communicating with Apophis at all.

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